Quota International of Morgantown, West Virginia, United States
Quota Cares Month—Honorable Mention Winner
Winning Project: ‘We Care’ Packages for the Troops
Committee selection was based on guidelines given by Quota International, which consisted of members from each of the following standing club committees: Community Service, Development and Growth, Fund-raising, and Hearing and Speech.
As our committee met to discuss a project for our club, our consensus was that the upcoming war with Iraq had become the number one issue happening in our world today. One committee member also had a friend whose daughter was in the Army stationed in Kuwait. Beth, the daughter, was telling her mother about the harsh conditions in the Middle East—four hour waiting lines to get into the military post exchange only to find that the shampoo or sunscreen she needed was sold out. She also had to wait two hours in line to use a telephone. These two factors seemed to come together to form the idea of sending “We Care” packages to our troops from North Central West Virginia.
First, we solicited the community’s interest in joining forces with Quota to provide a small piece of home to West Virginia troops overseas. Our local newspaper, the Dominion Post, assisted us by publishing an article asking for donated items and/or monetary contributions to help defray the cost of shipping the packages. The response was overwhelming and the project was initiated. One of our committee members discovered a Web site that provided information about what items to send and how to send them. The list was published in the newspaper along with the drop sites and dates. Our local mall offered a vacant storefront to collect, store, pack, and organize our shipments.
We collected items on Saturday, March 22, and Saturday, March 29, and we teamed with the Dominion Post and a local radio station for a third drop-off on Monday, March 31. The amount of items collected was so large that it filled the entire store. Club members had to meet several times a week for many weeks to sort, pack, seal, and address boxes. The packages delivered to the post office totaled ________ thus far, and we estimate that we will send another 150 boxes by the time the project is completed. Individual names of soldiers were obtained from family members, troop support groups, club members, and the community at large.
RELATED RECRUITMENT ACTIVITIES
By opening up our project to the community, we intended for people to become more aware of Quota’s objectives and goals. We displayed posters giving information about Quota at each of our drop-off locations. Our large Quota banner was on display as well as pamphlets describing Quota International. All members working at the drop-off site wore Quota shirts and answered any questions the public asked. We were able to enlighten the public with respect to our involvement in other projects throughout the community. As a result of our “We Care” project, over 20 people have expressed an interest in joining our club. We are planning a party to celebrate our successful project and plan to invite these prospective members.
Our club was very successful in getting the word out about our project through a multi-media campaign. Reporters at the Dominion Post wrote over eight articles publicizing information relative to collection and distribution of personal care and snack items for West Virginia troops. The local college newspaper, The Daily Athenaeum, covered the project. Our club was featured on several television stations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania (Channel 5, Bridgeport, WV; Channel 12, Clarksburg, WV; Channel 2, Pittsburgh, PA; Channel 8, WV Public Television).
BENEFITS TO CLUB, COMMUNITY
All of our club members would say that this project was one of the most satisfying, worthwhile endeavors we have ever undertaken. Our club received an enormous amount of publicity and recognition. Members felt fulfilled in the knowledge that we were helping those brave women and men fighting for preservation of our freedom by bringing them a little taste of home and the support of their community.
The most remarkable phenomenon surrounding the project was the overwhelming response from Morgantown at large. Individuals and businesses donated items and money for shipping. We received support from the local VFW and individual veterans. One veteran told our club that he had received a package from a couple in Texas when he was in Vietnam. That package meant everything to him even though he did not know the couple. He wanted to give us money for shipping because he knew how much it would mean to the soldiers.
Local school children wrote letters, made cards, and drew pictures of support to go in our boxes. The Mayor of Morgantown sent a letter of support. The West Virginia University Athletic Department gave us the upcoming football media guide to include. A service organization at West Virginia University (Alpha Phi Omega) came to help us collect and pack boxes. Some of the mothers of soldiers also volunteered to help. People we had never met walked into our collection site and asked what they could do to help. Before each box was sealed, a letter was placed inside from Quota, explaining our organization and the purpose of our project. One elementary school collected 109 shopping bags full of items.
A quote from one editorial said, “This sort of grassroots effort gives everyone a chance to make a difference.” Our club’s hope is that we will have made a difference in the lives of our soldiers far away from home by giving them local, community support.
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